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Saturday, June 28, 2008

A few more from the Koenji Connection...

(Happy early birthday Canada!)
Marie, in da house...what an aristochat!
My Day. In Pictures. (It was a long one...up from 7:30am-7:30am. Oh man)

It all started with Hoop Wake Up with Deanne in Yoyogi Koen...Good fun, and we decided, very good to get out of the house to do something, even if being in the park by 9 seemed early at the time...I even walked down there! There was the typical assortment of weekend-in-the-park-ers, which was cool--two standard poodles learning frisbee tricks, a guy with a trumpet, a few tai chi groups, a big running group, some photo shoots, and two girls with hoops. Post hooping out to Mika, I raced home for a shower and costume change before meeting Marie at the Four Seasons in Yurakucho for brunch at the ekki bar and grill (for Weekender). It was really nice and we had a lovely 'ladies - who- lunch' type of brunch...It was like a set course (you could pick from one of about 4 sets, i got 'contemporary'), where you started with a soup (pumpkin), then moved on to about 6 mains on a tray, with each one being tiny and pretty (included mushrooms on brioche, a grilled pepper wrap, a salad, and some super tasty waffles), and then there was a dessert tray, which was so good and had some rocking cheesecake! Followed off by coffee or tea, and either veuve cliquot or krug yellow label throughout (of course, that was a bit lost on me...I had about 3 sips through the entire thing). Still, a lovely brunch in a lovely restaurant. Then, since I was in Ginza, I made the obligatory trip to my mecca, AKA the apple store...5 stories of lovely-ness...iPod touches, mac book air and mac book pros are SOOO pretty...LOVE!
Then, Meguro for a time killing coffee... (For those keeping track of time, its now 4-5pm)
Then, a three-hour self-defence for women class put on by Sun and Moon Yoga. Illustrated above is the heel of the hand punch, which we learnt...(can also be used on a guys elbow should they be on top of you trying to rape you). It was a good class and we learned plenty of techniques, though whether or not I would have the presence of mind to use them remains a bit to be seen!
Then, it was home for a quick costume change (literally) before heading back out to Koenji, where Jordon was co-organising a costume party with lots of djs at the koenji connection. Which I couldn't find to save my life (even though I'd been there before, too!). Finally, after being sent on a wild goose chase by some restaurant promoters (maybe they wanted me to give up and go to their place lol) I ended up in Lawson. The poor girl had NO idea where I wanted to go, but I finally found their map on my keitai (thank goodness for net on phones in japan) and then instead of just pointing me in the right direction, she actually left the store and ran with me up the street to find it...Only in Japan!
Buuut, I made it, and it was a fun night! There was a surprisingly high percentage of people in costume in attendance...I whipped out the flapper costume stand-by, and Jordon was a ghost (except for most of the night when he wasn't--I gather it was a bit hard to see through lol). His gf was dressed as him which was cute--his tattoos had been drawn on her arm, etc..Then we had the cute 70s rocker chick (?), an aristocat, and a michael jackson wig, passed around through various people...It made most people look like MJ, and Jordon look Amish.
(Like seriously. Doesn't he look like he doesn't believe too much in electricity? So funny!)
The west coast of Canada was also very well represented, with like 4 (out of 15 or so) of us being from Vancouver (/Victoria). It was a first-train/last-train? night that ended up being a first-train night for nearly everyone....This city is great in that you can go home, at 5am, in a flapper costume, at the end of June, without anyone staring at you.
And of course, even when sober, Origin (or Yoshinoya) is the perfect end to the night (beginning of the day). Tonkatsu bento onegaishimasu!

And that's that!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Conbrio is here! Isn't she cute! It totally sucks I can't see her, but this is the newest member of our cute!

So I've been getting in trouble for not blogging enough...Mostly, I've just been at work, so you're not missing too much! I have a basically 4-day weekend now though, which is pretty exciting! I did absolutely NOTHING today! Slept in, then watched 8 episodes of The Paper on MTV, took Venus for a walk to Origin for a tonkatsu bento for lunch, had a nap, and now Peter, Hitomi and I are watching 'I survived a Japanese Game Show'. SOOO funny. I love it!

Last weekend was fun though--I went to some hoop dancing classes for an article for BAB, but I really enjoyed it, so I'm going back for more, tomorrow morning, actually. Also had a nice dinner at the Akasaka Biz Building (they've built a big development since i left) with a bunch of the old cpi crew, many of whom are leaving, either permanently or for the summer :( We also had Emma's leaving do at lunch this week :( It's going to be sad to see her go! I hope she and Mads are happy back in Oz.

Listened to a very very interesting NPR show a few days ago, about a brain scientist who had a huge stroke when she was 37 or something...She talks about the experience, but because of her expertise on the subject, she can obviously explain it very well. Listen here.

And that's about it! (I have no idea how i wrote so much last time lol). Maybe I can get some pics of the hooping tmw...That would be good.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A SIXTH foot?!

How bloody bizarre....I love how the Vancouver Police Constable says "All I can say is....I've never seen this before..."

You don't say? You mean it isn't common to have five right feet and a left one wash up around the west coast of Canada in a little under a year? Shocker that one!!

In other strange news, a small town in one of the Dakota's had a mayoral election where exactly NO ONE voted. The incumbent is planning to take the second term (he was running unopposed). You would think his wife would take the position but she was running (also unopposed) for town selectman, so she couldn't even vote for the poor guy.

And, somewhere in Eastern Europe (I think), the town happily voted in a dead guy. He died after voting had started, but they all knew what they were doing...someone was quoted as saying 'but i still wanted him'....must make the guys who still have a pulse feel loved!

ETA: correction of left vs. right feet thanks to the comment...
Couple of fun girlie nights out recently--last night was my first practice with the 'onnabelievables' women's soccer team. Good fun! It was nice to kick a ball around again, even though my touch is shocking as to be expected. It seems to be regular practices and then games and tournaments as they come up. They seem to have just come back from a weekend tournament...

Tonight was also girl's night out at paddy foley's. it was a good group and plenty of canadians--a couple of us passed on the news about the lululemon in aoyama having a going out of business sale at the moment--everything is 30-50% off. SO exciting! (well, not that they're leaving, but the sale).I got a great bag there which is plenty big enough for me to tote my life back and forth between home and the office.

speaking of the office...i should go to sleep or i'm going to be a MESS there tomorrow...busy week, so i'd best be going!

Monday, June 16, 2008

I've been saying they should do this forever!! Too bad it's just a marketing stunt haha

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Just a quick blog before bed...Had a pretty lazy morning today, watching the finale of America's Next Top Model (only like 2 months late!) , making the rounds of all the gymnastics blogs I read (addicted2gym, gymnastics coaching, polish101, gymnasticsnstuff, gymblog, ozgymblog, etc.), plus the articles that the IG aggregator found, and, of course, the forum...There may (or may not) be some sort of addiction here ;)

Then, peter was going out for brunch which meant I got a ride basically to the library, where magically my card still worked. These friendly turtles were in a pond outside the entrance.
Books in hand, I walked from The Harajuku side of Omotesando to Aoyama to check out the lululemon there and picked out the bag I want to get myself (but probably in black). The store is a decent size, has a pretty good collection, and is actually, between the 5 (vs 14) % tax and the exchange rate, possibly a very slightly bit cheaper than shopping from home. Bonus :)

That done, I made my way to the Roppongi-area for Mads and Emma's leaving drinks at this fun bar/restaurant called the Rolling Stone Cafe. Perhaps copyright only becomes an issue if you throw the extra 's' in there? While its definitely sad to see them going, it was really great to see Jen and Mike (and little paul for the first time!), karin and nico, kieron, was like old-home week with the office crew.

Random but: I just found a review saying the rolling stone cafe is actually owned by rolling stone magazine. interesting. It's a nice place and has a huuuuge outdoor terrace. (for those in tokyo, it's diagonally across from the starbucks/tsutaya at the bottom of the hill near roppongi hills.)

Speaking of Roppongi Hills, here's an interesting bit of public art (?) that fills a huge shop window (didn't that used to be louis vuitton or something?) that explains how the logo was created--R.Hill's kanji means 6 trees--which was eventually represented by the 6 dots...

Came home just after 8 and chilled--did some takkyubin slip writing, had dinner, vaguely listened as peter and hitomi watched the wire, wrote some emails, and now, this blog...

time for bed though, as it's an early morning for work tomorrow.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Well, it was our golf tournament today at Windsor Park in Ibaraki. We had quite the adventure getting there (things started looking down when we were sooo far off track that we were no longer on the map!) but we got there eventually and had a nice lunch before heading off for a casual 9 before coming back in for the prize-giving ceremony (winner of the event received a weekend test drive in a jag, but everyone got a prize...there were some pretty cool ones including 3days accomodation in saipan, some nice dinners out, champers, etc.). Headed home after that, and got in around 10--its about an hour by 'Fresh Hitatchi' (baby shinkansen) and then a 20 (or hour and 20 minute, depending on directions or lack there of ;) ) ride from the eki to the course...In tokyo, the fresh hitachi also goes only to ueno, which is about a 35 minute subway from our house. So its a bit of a trek all in all, but lovely to go out into all the greenery (though the 'wow! there's trees!' thing wasn't as exciting this year as last where it had been like 8 months, not 8 days since being in Canada).

Anyway, here are some photos from the day and surrounding countryside:
Finishing hole, taken from the clubhouse facing out
lovely location!!
clubhouse in the background...

Finishing up the 18th before heading into the clubhouse
countryside-japan is veeery different to tokyo!
that's a bad's never good when your truck ends up t over a in a rice paddy!
the jag and range rover that you could win a weekend ride in.
above: our golf cart in action (if by action I mean a still shot), below: our golf cart in action (if by action I mean video)

(wow, very cool, if it works you can now upload videos directly onto blogger, very nice!!) Assuming it does show up, these are the cool golf carts--you get a remote control, and press the button to start and stop, and the carts follow predetermined (magnetic, i imagine) paths around the course, stopping automatically at tee boxes and greens and things in the event you forget to press stop.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Some people *cough* Alia Sabur *cough* are just WAY too smart.
Click here to read about the youngest prof in the world--in 300 years--she's not even 19!
Well I guess it's a good thing that I never made promises to blog every day this trip like I did last time, as I'm already not doing too well! The combination of work and jet lag has made this first week-or-just-about go fairly quickly, but has also meant that I come home at 8:30 or so, take Venus for a walk or run, eat something, try and stay awake at least until ten and then sleep, not well, until anywhere between 5 and 8. Last night, I came home at 8:30 and went straight to bed, jetlag be dammed...Well it didn't work out so well as I only slept from 9-2am and then was up until 5 when I slept again till 10...(day off work) It's only 8:20 and I'm already dragging again. So yea...I dunno, but not so good.

Hopefully taking today mostly off (I only worked for a couple of hours from a Seattle's Best, which I discovered had free wifi) will help. I also hung out in Shinjuku Hands (seemingly Tokyu Hands has been rebranded for each location) and in Franc Franc, where I concocted a plan for making purses out of pillow cases (stay tuned lol).

Went to the gym with Peter today (I know!, hey?) and so that was good. He goes 2x a week and I'll try and take one of those days off work each day to go with him... I get in free with him as his 'minder' (HA!) and it's a pretty sweet facility. I think my fave part was either the locker keys which are like big, flat, round magnets you wear on a bracelet type thing--touch it to the door and it automatically opens, or the strange and hilarious horse-type fitness machines they have... I'm totally going to try one next time--I couldn't figure out what all the buttons meant this time and no one scurried over to help. Granted, I could have scurried to ask, but....

After that I went up to his office quickly and then went to do the Shinjuku stuff, and then back home. It's strange as I feel very much at loose ends right now. Maybe because I was very rarely alone the last few months before I left, and spent so much time just chilling at A's, it seems weird to be alone, I miss the chillage, everyone else at home, and...I dunno...I can't quite put my finger on it, but I'm sure (and hoping!) it's just first week readjustment/jetlag exhaustion/whatever...

in any case, this is getting whingy and boring, never a good, i love you and i miss you or i'm happy to be seeing you again, depending on who you are!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Wow, cool (literally)--Tokyo has a year-round Absolut Ice Bar. It's not cheap (35$ gets you a cape, gloves, one drink, and 45-minutes), but it would be amazing in the height of summer, and make quite the blog entry! Check back, as I may well go. Check out another site here.
Went to Shimokitazawa for an early morning walk yesterday (well, 8:30-10ish or something) and, especially when I first got down there, there was pretty much nothing open. However, the closed stores were still pretty cool as many of them had painted metal shutters in front of them. Here is just one block's worth.

After my shimokita adventure I came home for a bit and then ended up going into the office for awhile. That actually probably felt the most normal of everything so far, not sure why. I tried to reload my pasmo card at the eki though and accidentally bought a Y800 ticket instead, oops! so i managed to get it refunded at the gate, before remembering you don't really do returns in Japan. I didn't want to keep the ticket though, as the eq. to $8.00 gets you a looong way here! Like Odawara or's only Y160 or Y190 depending what station I go to when I'm going to work...

Went to the office at about 2 and got home about 9, with jet lag in full force. But I managed to force myself to run with Venus (the lazy puppy!!) which was good but soooo humid and sticky already, July is going to be unpleasant! They were filming something in a park nearby that we ran past which was cool...

Here are a few random keitai pics from the day:
These are like kitkat balls, coated with mango flavoring. Pretty good actually. Did I mention I love combenis? Did I mention I can't eat this crap all day every day? Lol
This little old lady was driving her scooter and then saw someone she knew at a shop on the corner behind her to the left, so she just abandoned her scooter and tottered over to chat...quite funny.

K, off to get ready for work now...miss you!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Well, I'm here!!

The trip over was good--Mayland and Alex were kind enough (and heading over to Vancouver anyway-enough) to take me to the airport so we took the ferry over and then they dropped me at the airport.

I checked in via the new-that-day computer terminal which was pretty cool and managed to score myself an aisle seat with the 2 seats beside it empty, in the hopes that they would stay empty, which, indeed, they did--as I was waiting to board (taking advantage of the free wifi at YVR) I heard the little pre-flight flight attendant pow wow and they were saying we were quite empty going it went aisle, me, seat, seat, ri-man, aisle, which was pretty good-I took full sprawling advantage of having two seats, though he never went over the barrier of his 'paid-for' seat...strange.

Got to Narita and from the time we got to the gate to when I had my bus ticket it took about 22 minutes, pretty great--my bags were nearly first off, the immigrations took about 12 seconds ("What are you doing here?" "Visiting my uncle that lives here." "OK" stamp) and the finger printing and photo-taking was quick (and inkless) as well. The worst part was trying to find a pay phone to let Peter know what bus I was on.

The next day I was pretty jet-lagged so woke up at 5. I (mostly) unpacked and then talked to A for awhile, and basically chilled before Peter and I went out in the afternoon. We went to visit Mibu and met her new dog, a French bulldog named Marley who is soooo cute!! He's nearly 3 months old, and quite the character! After that, Peter was after burgers, so Mibu suggested a cute place off Cat Street where we went called something like 'Great Burger' it was very funky, had good (great, even) burgers, and two mascot French bulldogs that were much more 'bulldog' than Marley is so far.

Then we wandered around Cat Street to Omotesando Dori, checked out the new Chanel store (very cool digital signage) and the MoMA store (soooo cool!!) in the samw building. They also have a cool keitai program within the building where you touch your keitai (if it has FeLiCa) onto a sensor and for every Y you spend, you get a point, and then 2x a year, they add up all the points and somehow convert it into a donation to Doctors Without Borders.

Then a pretty chill night at home and I fell asleep at like 9..ooops! Was up at 6 today, but I'll blog that later--off to work now

Thursday, June 05, 2008

So, as you can imagine, I'm sure, there is a lot of stuff I may want to share personally with close friends and family, but not the entire world. Unfortunately, blogger doesn't allow you to password protect certain posts, but, I've found a hack to do so. So, here goes with a test of the encryption services.

Here's a test: (encryption code for this one is: test)

Show encrypted text

maybe, lol